Thousands of Labour members sign letter of no confidence in ‘shockingly unfit’ Watson

Angry members write to party’s NEC
Tom Watson

Thousands of Labour members outraged at the behaviour of Labour deputy leader Tom Watson have signed an open letter to the party’s National Executive Committee to express their complete lack of confidence in him.

The letter pulls no punches, describing Watson as ‘shockingly unfit’ for his position as well as criticising him for ‘actively working against the current Leadership, the membership and the Party’, for briefing against the party and its staff to the media and for his ‘distracting and counter-productive little vanity projects’.

The letter goes on to attack Watson’s failure ” to have done a single tangible thing that has benefited Labour members or voters in his nearly 4 year tenure”, before closing by asking the NEC to demand Watson’s resignation:

Open Letter To The Labour NEC, We Have No Confidence In Tom Watson As Deputy Leader Of The Labour Party

We are Labour Party members who support the direction of travel for the Party.

We are greatly disappointed with the continuing conduct of Deputy Leader, Tom Watson who has repeatedly shown himself to be actively working against the current Leadership, the membership and the Party during his tenure.

From his derisory comments to the press regarding the party membership, to him mass blocking large segments on social media when he was elected to represent us.

From him briefing in the media against Party staff and Party policy, to showing an egregious misreading of the mood of Labour members and voters.

From his distracting and counter-productive little vanity projects that do not go anywhere, to his unmitigated inability to have done a single tangible thing that has benefited Labour members or voters in his nearly 4 year tenure.

We believe Tom Watson to be shockingly unfit to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

We therefore demand that the NEC make representation to Tom Watson to resign as Deputy Leader. If he feels he still has the support of the membership (which he doesn’t) then he should at the very least refresh his mandate.

The number of signatories is approaching 2,500, even before the letter has been much publicised.

Labour members who wish to add their signatures to the letter can do so here.

Neither Tom Watson’s parliamentary nor his constituency offices were taking calls when contacted for comment.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

(Full disclosure: the SKWAWKBOX’s Steve Walker has signed as a Labour member)


  1. I thought we were fighting the Tories. Are people in our own party an easy target? All those who have joined on because of Corbin, what will happen down the line? Stop giving fuel to the media and concentrate on getting a united Labour Government.

    1. Edward, Tell that to the ever disloyal, disruptive, plotter, Tom Watson. – not us . And don’t be so sadly naïve laddie ! Your post is really just a “leave Tom alone to carry on plotting and wrecking ” plea .

      I’ve signed (link is in the article . I hope many more do .

      1. Don’t patronise me, there was dissent under Blair! I did name any individual!

      2. Dissent is the right – even the duty – of every MP, from time to time. That is not what Watson is accused of.
        You call for unity, but don’t explain how that is even possible with the deputy leader consistently working to disrupt and undermine progress.

      3. Duly signed in all honesty he IMO is not fit for the job as deputy leader of The Labour Party .

      4. I will indeed bloody well patronise you, Edward Hasman. Because you are pathetic ,you blatant tool of the current wrecking campaign by Watson and the Labour Right. And the chances that you “voted for Jeremy in the Leadership elections” is precisely NIL. That claim is just one of the standard Mandelson Troll playbook claims ALWAYS used by Trolls just before they then say “but now I’ve realised he’s the devil incarnate” , or ” I used to love Jeremy, but let’s not do anything to deal with the perennial wreckers in our Party , because surely they have a basic human right to fuck up the one chance we have of a UK Left government and an end to Austerity”.

      5. jpenney 30/05/2019 at 3:13 pm

        “And the chances that you “voted for Jeremy in the Leadership elections” is precisely NIL. “

        Did you vote for Jeremy in the 2015 leadership election.?Weren’t you a member of another party at the time?

        As you well know the only way to oust TW from his post is for another member of the PLP to challenge him. If those that oppose him can’t find anyone to stand against him it is very unlikely that your histrionics are going to make much difference.

      6. What or who gives you the right to patronise a fellow comrade. I am not anyone’s tool or troll as you put it. I was a member through the Blair years and fought against the witch hunts that took place. But I stayed loyal as leaders come and go. I did vote for and would support Jeremy in any future elections as leader. The radical policies he has talked of I fully agree with, let’s see him bring them to fruition. Many have also made the same comments I have made. Denounce us all if you like. History will be the judge.

    2. Strange how it so often happens that someone who has never posted on skwawkbox before just happens to be the first person to post a comment, which in THIS case, is obviously concocted and designed to put people off signing the letter – ie posts a comment FIRST so as to try and influence SB readers NOT to sign the letter of No Confidence!


      1. I have commented before not very often as I usually don’t waist my time. Sign whatever petitions letters you want. Carry on deciding the party. You are doing the Tories work for them,

      2. Oh, really, so when was the last time you posted a comment, and what was the topic under discussion? No doubt it was so long ago you don’t remember now, right?

        And the only people that are doing the Tories work for them AND doing everything they can to sabotage JC’s leadership, are the Blairites and the MSM of course.

        Are you a LP member and, if so, what is your local CLP?

        Anyway, it was good of you to take the time to waste your time again, and so promptly as well!

      3. In reply to Alan Howard, I am a LP member. Joined in 1976. Leicester West CLP. I am not a Blairite. Stayed loyal to the party despite all that happened. I voted for JC in the Leadership elections.

  2. @Edward Hasman

    In this case, I disagree.

    One should get one’s own house in order first…And get a united labour party!

    The toerags are gonna waste 6 weeks on a leadership bid; labour should make use of their in-fighting time to purge a (fair) few shit-stirrers.

  3. I’m one and hope he gets stood down soon. He does nothing but undermine Labour.

  4. Watson is a Frankenstein monster.

    But unlike the classic novel, it’s his own creation. He plays the central role & blames everybody else.

    Whereas the good Doctor Frankenstein realised his own tragic error, and with quiet dignity, blamed himself.

    Whereas Tom Dubya’s just an arsehole.

  5. Purge, purge, purge, purge. You need to listen to Edward. The current Labour Party will be too small (I don’t just mean membership), and ineffective to do anything. The Labour Party is a broad church, and should embrace all, not be doing the Tories work for them. Can’t remember the last time I read an article from SkwaWkbox attacking the Tories; it’s all about in-fighting and is self-defeating. I don’t recall Blair houndng Jeremy Corbyn out of the Labour Party.

    1. I don’t recall you posting your condemnation of those right wingers calling for the expulsion of thousands of members in the party three years ago.

    2. Joe is a green party supporter trolling. He is best ignored or ridiculed, as the mood takes.

    3. Joe – I think the follow-up comments indeed prove your point.

      The ritual of self-righteous condemnation here dwarfs any attempt at serious ideas for getting a progressive government into actual power.

      1. The ritual of self-righteous condemnation here dwarfs any attempt at serious ideas for getting a progressive government into actual power.

        Oh, we want a ‘progressive’ govt, dicky. A LABOUR one, too.

        Rther telling you didn’t mention that most important point, probly ‘cos we know how much you’d prefer a ‘progress’ govt.

        Am I right?

    4. Joe the dim Troll. Priceless stuff ! You can’t then recall the constant hounding of the Labour Left and closing down of entire Left-leaning CLPs and branches FOR YEARS, under Kinnock and Blair then ? And Tom Watson (with Angel Eagle in tow) were the keen NEC enforcer bullies who used to delight in going around CLPs closing them down for being too Left Wing !

      A “Broad Church” Party does not mean that blatant and repeated sabotage , contravening our Party Rules , should be tolerated . But then even you Trolls know that. You just want more time for the Watsons and Campbells et al to carry out their wrecking activities.

      1. jpenney 30/05/2019 at 3:27 pm

        You always have the option of p…ing off again for another 25+ years if you don’t think the Labour Party is a broad enough church to encompass your ideology.

  6. What we desperately need, however, is a candidate who will stand against him.

    1. Have you ever considered how he got elected in the first place, the membership was sick and tired of New Labour carrying out Tory Neo-Liberal policies. Is that what you want to go back to.

  7. And there is the still unanswered question about who secretly recorded part of an NEC meeting then leaked it to the media – a pretty spiteful thing to do to the Labour Party and whoever did it should be expelled. Sign the letter!

  8. I’m not a hypocrite, Rotz. I did. This new Labour Party will die if it does not accept that it doesn’t all have to think the same.

    1. Thinking differently is fine. Plotting against the leadership isn’t. I wouldn’t expect a green party supporter to understand the Labour party, however.

    2. This is not about enforcing homogenous thinking; this is about a wrecker who is doing his utmost to ruin the party’s electoral chances. That was never the case with Corbyn; he dissented on numerous issues but he never once tried to undermine the party electorally or used the media to gainsay democratically decided policy. Furthermore, on perhaps every single issue on which Corbyn rebelled, history has shown that he was right and the majority was wrong; neither was he deputy leader and thus bound by any duty of collective responsibility. Defending Watson is defending the indefensible.

      1. Quite correct, Lab.

        Answer this then Joe, rh steve h, and the rest (You know who you are)

        Which does the most damage?

        A dissenting backbencher in an 88 majority govt – or 83 or 31 seat majority, if you want??

        Or a dissenting Shadow deputy PM in opposition?

        Clue: It’s the 2nd one, isn’t it?

      2. The answer to your question, Toffee, is quite simple.

        What does the most damage is (a) Incompetent political strategy and (b) Nodding dog/knee-jerk caricatures of left-wing politics.

        That’s what causes people to piss off to the Greens and the LibDems. The disagreeable influence of the Watsons etc. in the wider scheme of things is way behind in salience.

  9. Thinking different should be fine, but it’s blatantly obvious on this site that it isn’t. Practically all of you want to think as one, and anybody who disagrees with you is, according to you all, a troll. Jeremy Corbyn will never become PM with this kind of attitude (and you can quote me back in three years time).

    1. That’s because you ARE indeed a Right Wing Troll, Joe Kaliszczak – just putting across the cynical Mandelson Troll playbook line . Put up some sensible comments outside of the guff that your entire little Troll grouplet is pumping out as white noise on here 24/7, and the socialists on here will be much friendlier. And stop wingeing , laddie. There must be space for you to put up your Lib Dem supporting guff on a Guardianista site ?

      1. Lesson No. 1 for the self-aware political activist:

        Don’t use the word ‘troll’ indiscriminately if you want to pretend to seriousness. Such lack of nous and stunted vocabulary/argument tends to label you as a tosser not to be taken seriously.

  10. Kudos.

    Its both enlightening and pleasing to see the members calling him out.

    Would like to see this continue, both as a powerful voice and to see TWatson get his well overdue dose of karma.

    (I voted for him, thinking he would be part of the “broad church”)

  11. Forgive me for pointing out that the ONLY legitimate way of removing Tom Watson from office is for another MP to challenge him for the post. Whatever you may think of him is irrelevant, he is an elected official of the party (just like JC is) and the same rules that protect Jeremy also protect TW. You can like it or lump it but until the rules are changed this is the case. If those in the PLP don’t think they have the numbers to get rid of him no amount of grumbling is going to change anything.

    It’s amazing how short people’s memories are. Don’t you all remember how outraged we all were when the chicken coup tried to bully Jeremy Corbyn out of office because they didn’t think they could win an election under the rules.

    I do not support Tom Watson or what he stands for but is the behaviour displayed on this page and many others any different in essence from the bullying of JC that we all found so objectionable.

    1. A good summary of the actuality.

      The amount of space directed at simply banging on about how terrible is Watson progresses no issues whatsoever.

      Of course, stating the bleedin’ obvious is taken as support for him. But hey-ho, the dilettante factions were never good at detail, discrimination and real politics. Otherwise the SWP would have MPs.

      As with the Campbell affair, the issues require judgment about actual impacts. Simply handing an antagonistic press propaganda lines achieves precisely zilch, and meanwhile the fundamental issues – like the antisemitism scam and the dire polling figures – aren’t made any better.

  12. No, of course it isn’t Steve. The plotters justification for staging a leadership challenge were bogus and manufactured and contrived and false. There is nothing remotely comparable.

    1. Hi Allan – In the interests of good faith I thought that I should point out that your first sentence gives the appearance of supporting my comment and although your support would of course be welcome I doubt this was your intention.

      1. As you said in your post Steve, “It’s amazing how short people’s memories are”!

        My point WAS of course that the rhetoric directed at JC was fraudulent and contrived, whereas the criticism of TW is more than justified.

    1. There was no good Left choice for Deputy Leader in 2015 let’s face it, Diogenes. The PLP “gatekeeper role” kept any Leftie off the ballot. So , knowing what an old West Midlands Labour Right machine politician Watson was, many of us on the Left followed the advice of the likes of CLPD to vote for Angela Eagle instead ! Duh !

  13. jpenney 30/05/2019 at 3:42 pm · · Reply →

    “many of us on the Left followed the advice of the likes of CLPD to vote for Angela Eagle instead ! Duh !”

    Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but surely you were unable to vote in the 2015 leadership election because at the time as well as not being a member of the Labour Party you were also a member of another party.

    1. Wrong again moron Troll . I left the Left Unity grouplet early in 2015 to join the Labour Party, initially as one of those pesky £3 supporters your Progress chums foolishly campaigned for ! And did indeed, as stated, vote for the dreadful Angel Eagle in the Deputy Leadership contest. So fuck off smartypants . You know nothing of any accuracy on even the simplest topic.

      1. And, as an aside, a rather a different analysis of current voting trends in this new very large (10,000) participant , opinion poll just out from Ashcroft ! The poll reports that nationwide the support for Leave has gone UP, and the majority of abstainers in the recent 37% turnout EU elections were working class Leavers – many of whom will be in Labour’s heartlands. This must be set against the very small sample, and nowadays heavily anti Labour skewed, YouGov polling. Labour is being seduced into adopting an electorally suicidal pro PV and Remain policy position on the basis of bogus polling and fanciful extrapolations of the small turnout EU election. https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/time-labour-stand-unequivocally-working-class?fbclid=IwAR3wfATJLqM_Cgo4bTCqOI3_yCJ-Iho7tcMWmmzQ1a3NzNNn50UpnZz-kh8#.XPFWetyoTNw.facebook

      2. jpenney 31/05/2019 at 8:06 pm

        Thankyou for clarifying that, I feel quite privileged to have got a straightforward answer from you, it’s a rare event.

      3. jpenney 31/05/2019 at 8:06 pm

        Wrong again moron Troll . I left the Left Unity grouplet early in 2015 to join the Labour Party, “

        I am sure that there must be a very simple explanation but I am having some difficulty in reconciling your ‘assertion’ that you left Left-Unity in early 2015 with the evidence because you appear to have continued to play an active part in Left Unity right up until the point when you resigned in September 2015 (one week after Jeremy’s victory was announced).

        Just in case you are having difficulty recollecting events I have reproduced your resignation announcement below.

        As I said above I am sure their must be a simple explanation why your ‘assertions don’t match up with the available evidence so I am awaiting your reply with interest.

        In the interests of transparency I have posted your comment in full below, besides highlighting the anomaly described above it also gives an insight into your motivation for rejoining Labour after 25+ years in the wilderness. I have highlighted your resignation.

        John Penney
        September 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm
        I was one of the first “founding member” recruits to Left Unity – inspired and convinced by Ken Loach’s call for the founding of a broadly-based genuinely radical, but not revolutionary, new mass party to the Left of the then thoroughly neoliberal – led and ideologically neoliberal dominated NewLabour Party. The assumption of most of us in Left Unity, and the radical Left generally at the time, and indeed right up to the astonishing and unpredicted “Corbyn Surge” during the leadership election campaign, was that Labour was forever lost to any meaningful shift leftwards. I certainly believed that to be the case. How totally wrong we all turned out to be. Major deeply socially-based “tectonic plate” political shifts have a tendancy to catch everyone out. This is just such a major socio-political tectonic plate shift. The Left needs to catch up – fast.
        The first few years of our Left Unity Party Project up to the Corbyn Surge has not been greatly successful . We failed to even breach the 2,000 member barrier (The Corbyn Campaign had about 16,000 volunteer helpers !) – and I’m afraid politically and compositionally in my opinion we utterly failed to breach the apparently impervious barriers separating the Far Left from the mass of ordinary working class left-leaning people.
        The next phase of the class struggle , the British (or at least Welsh and English) majority component anyway , will, astonishingly, have as a key component the new vicious , no compromise possible, struggle within the Labour Party against the totally entrenched neoliberal right , particularly in the PLP, to implement the objectives of the Corbyn campaign to transform Labour into a real party of the Left. This will be a bitter internal civil war, with the neoliberal PLP majority backed ruthlessly by the entire mass media. The potential to draw the hundreds of thousands of new, radical Left, Labour Party members into not only the internal Party struggle, but the wider anti Austerity struggle, is one that no socialist should stand aside from.

        I have therefore regretfully resigned from Left Unity and its many, many, fine comrades , and joined the Labour Party (AGAIN – after a 20 year break) , as have many other previously fully committed Left Unity members over the last few weeks.

        The Left Unity project was completely correct at the time of its formation, on the basis of what we all assumed was the impossibility of the rise of a renewed radical Left within the party. We were all simply wrong – the recent explosion of new radical Left movements across Europe, eg, Die Linke, Podemos, Syriza (and that particular one went well didn’t it !) has, freakishly, manifested itself WITHIN the British equivalent of PASOK. We have to swallow our pride, accept that we were wrong , and get ourselves, en masse (if the tiny radical Left can be said to be en masse) into the Labour Party to directly participate in this struggle – and to continue to fight the wider anti austerity struggle too – but drawing the hundreds of thousands of new Labour Party members out of the LP’s internal branch life into this much broader struggle.
        The Left Unity project has simply become irrelevant. I personally doubt that the Labour Party can be won to be a serious party of the Left without a major split /deselection battle between its entrenched neoliberal MP’s and councillors and the now rapidly growing dominant radical Left membership. Fighting to create a new fighting left Labour party out of the coming Labour civil war has to be a key priority for the entire Left. The key motion at the forthcoming Left Unity National Conference should be to dissolve the Party and enter the labour Party ASAP.


      4. jpenney 31/05/2019 at 8:06 pm

        We are still waiting for an ‘explanation’ of your ‘inconsistencies’.

      5. I’m afraid the quoted statement provides no evidence of when I personally left formal membership of the failed Left Unity project in 2015. There was a period of resignations by members throughout 2015, accelerating after Jeremy’s Leadership bid gained traction. . The rest of the quoted statement though is as excellent and correct now as it was then . The endless sabotage of the Labour Right has proven to be just as I predicted. So tough luck Troll. Thanks though for reprinting such an excellent analysis of the deep , longstanding, political schisms in the Labour Party though, and the challenges facing the hundreds of thousands of Left wingers who joined , or as in my case, rejoined, during 2015 and onwards. I recommend the article to everyone to read.

      6. jpenney 10/06/2019 at 8:13 pm

        It took you quite a while to come up with that explanation.

        I will leave it to others to draw their own conclusions.

      7. jpenney

        My apologies for my rather dismissively short reply, your carefully crafted non-answer obviously deserves a more comprehensive and detailed reply. After all it did take you 10 days to craft it. Unfortunately I don’t have the time this evening to devote the attention that your comment warrants. I’ll try and find the time to get back to you tomorrow.

Leave a Reply